ALBANY, GA (WALB) - Albany State will not be playing Tuskegee at home on November 12. That has led to a war of words of sorts between the two SIAC rivals.
Albany State athletic director Sherie Gordon said Albany State was approached by Tuskegee last week to play on November 12th in Albany if the Golden Rams lost to Fort Valley State in the Fountain City Classic.
The Golden Tigers rank 6th in the latest NCAA regional rankings, a spot that would earn them a playoff game. But Tuskegee has only played nine games. The NCAA requires teams to play at least 10 games to qualify for the postseason.
Gordon tells WALB ASU initially rejected the request on Friday.
On Saturday before the ASU-FVSU game, Gordon says ASU changed their mind and "verbally agreed" to host the Golden Tigers on November 12.
After the Golden Rams' loss to FVSU, Gordon says she, head football coach Dan Land, and university president Dr. Art Dunning discussed the impromptu game again, this time deciding against playing it.
"One, this isn't a game that provided any benefit to Albany State," Gordon says. "But two, specifically the risk of injury. We discussed a great deal that risk and playing in the game. It just didn't leave us feeling positive about the opportunity to compete."
Gordon says after reconsidering their decision to play, ASU immediately notified Tuskegee and the SIAC of their decision to not play. She says Albany State is aware of the impact of their choice to not play, but added this was not made to slight Tuskegee.
"We made it clear that this was not a decision not to support their institution or the SIAC, but a decision we felt was in the best interests of our student-athletes," Gordon says.
Tuskegee, though, is not happy with the Golden Rams. TU athletic director Curtis Campbell questioned Albany State's decision in a statement released Monday by the TU athletic department.
"I am very disappointed in Albany State's decision not to honor their agreement," Tuskegee athletic director Curtis Campbell says in the same statement. "As members of the SIAC, we must be able to trust the word of a member institution."
Gordon declined to comment on Campbell's statement, instead saying she and Albany State wish Tuskegee well.
Gordon did say she hopes the SIAC will work to make sure teams are scheduling correctly.
"We hopes this sparks the conversation, from a conference perspective, of implementing policies to ensure these types of scheduling errors don't happen in the future," Gordon says.
The two schools played earlier this season. Tuskegee defeated Albany State 28-18 on September 10 at the White Water Classic in Phenix City, AL. Tuskegee says they are attempting to secure a 10th game for November 12.